When you are searching for a community, it is important to ask questions that help you evaluate the following: types of care offered, staffing levels and qualifications, pricing, and amenities.
Let’s dive into all the questions you need to be asking yourself before deciding which community to choose. We rounded up eight of the most important ones. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
1.What Types of Care are Offered?
First and foremost, before going on any tours, you should make sure that the community you’re looking at offers the type of care that your loved one needs. Have they been diagnosed with a cognitive disorder like Alzheimer’s or dementia? If so, then it’s possible that they need a Memory Care community. Are they fairly independent but just need some assistance with dressing and bathing? An Assisted Living community would likely fit the bill in that case. Do they have a higher level of care in that they are bedbound and need incontinence care on a regular basis? Finding a smaller, residential Board and Care home may be the best option for someone with those circumstances.
2.What are the Living Accommodations Like?
Does your loved one value their privacy, and want to be in a room by themselves with a private bathroom, or would they be fine with sharing a room and bathroom with another resident? Do they need to be on the first floor due to using a wheelchair? Is it important to them to have a balcony or patio area? It’s vital to make sure that the accommodations at the community in question fit the needs of the potential resident. Assisted Living and Memory Care communities often have a wide variety of rooms, from shared or private studios to one or two bedroom apartments, to individual cottages on the property. Board and Care homes are residential homes in a typical neighborhood that have been licensed by the state to care for seniors in need of a higher level of assistance, and consist of shared or private bedrooms with common living room, kitchen and outdoor areas. Determining what the accommodations are at the places in question will help you select specific options to tour.
3.What Amenities are Offered?
Different senior living communities offer a wide and varied assortment of amenities. Some have gourmet meals with restaurant style dining rooms, some have pools, spas and gyms available, some have hair salons and barber shops on the property. Sometimes there are organized field trips and outings to shopping centers, casinos, museums or botanical gardens. Most Assisted Living communities have lots of different activities onsite, like arts and crafts, bingo, group movies, singalongs, board or card games, and classes or lectures about topics of interest or current affairs. Knowing what your loved one would like to spend their time doing, and the importance they place on those types of activities, are a must when touring a community so that you can make sure they will be happy and occupied when living there.
4.How Do You Feel the Moment You Walk In?
Sometimes your gut feeling can be a good way to gauge whether you are about to make a right or wrong decision. Just simple and abstract thing such as how you feel when you walk into a community can be an important indicator. Pay attention to why you might be feeling that way. Is it just general nervousness and anxiety about the task at hand, or did you see something that bothered you: litter on the grounds, residents who appear unkempt or unattended, disorganization within the community. If there is something specific bothering you, make sure to address it with the staff member of the community that you’re touring with, and take careful note of their response and their level of concern in replying.
5. Are Pets Allowed?
If your loved one has a beloved pet that they just can’t bear to be without, one of the first questions you need to ask is whether they will be able to bring their pet along. A lot of senior living communities understand that to seniors especially, pets are cherished family members, and caring for and interacting with the pet helps give purpose and comfort to the elderly person’s day. Some places even have their own community pets, sort of like a mascot, whom seniors can spend time with and give affection to, without having to be responsible for their own animal. On the flip side, some seniors may have allergies or fears about being around animals, and would prefer to live in a pet-free community. This is also very important to find out.
6.What is the Staff Like?
The staff is an integral part of the senior living community. If the staff is passionate about what they do, you can be assured that they will provide top notch care to your loved one. Make sure to ask about the employees who will be interacting with and caring for the potential resident. Ask to meet a few staff members in different roles around the community, and gauge how happy and friendly they seem. It’s also important to find out what the caregiver-to-resident ratio is, whether or not the community offers 24-hour “awake staff” for residents who have nighttime needs, and if there is an LVN on duty to administer medication or injections to residents who might require that service.
7.How Does Pricing Work?
Before making a decision about a senior living community, you’ll want to be sure that the places you selected are within your budget. Most Assisted Living communities feature the following pricing structure: you pay a “base rent” for the room and board (utilities and meals are included) and then care costs are an extra charge. You’ll want to speak with the staff member giving your tour to determine what their evaluation of your specific costs will be (most likely, you won’t know a final cost until the community does their own assessment, but you can definitely get a ballpark idea if you know what care needs your loved one has, and what kind of accommodations they are looking for.)
8.What do the Reviews say?
Last but not least, it’s a good idea to look at the reviews for a particular community before you go on your tour. This is the age of the internet, so there is no need to rely solely on your own judgment and research to form an opinion. The community will likely have its own website with its own collection of resident and family reviews, but looking at sites like Yelp or Google can give you some insight on what others are saying in an impartial forum. If you see anything of concern, you can bring it up during your tour and see how the staff member addresses it.
Now you know the most important 8 questions to ask when touring a senior living community. When you are searching for a community, you need someone you can trust. We here at Placement Helpers will guide you through the whole process.
Finding the right type of care and senior community has never been easier. We will drive you to your selected tour locations free of cost to make sure you see the places for yourself. That way you can make the right decision that you are comfortable with. Get in touch with us through our Contact Page and see how we can help you.